Emerging infectious disease as a proximate cause of amphibian mass mortality

Rachowicz, Lara J., Knapp, Roland A., Morgan, Jess A. T., Stice, Mary J., Vredenburg, Vance T., Parker, John M. and Briggs, Cheryl J. (2006) Emerging infectious disease as a proximate cause of amphibian mass mortality. Ecology, 87 7: 1671-1683. doi:10.1890/0012-9658(2006)87[1671:EIDAAP]2.0.CO;2

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Author Rachowicz, Lara J.
Knapp, Roland A.
Morgan, Jess A. T.
Stice, Mary J.
Vredenburg, Vance T.
Parker, John M.
Briggs, Cheryl J.
Title Emerging infectious disease as a proximate cause of amphibian mass mortality
Journal name Ecology   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0012-9658
Publication date 2006-07
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1890/0012-9658(2006)87[1671:EIDAAP]2.0.CO;2
Open Access Status File (Publisher version)
Volume 87
Issue 7
Start page 1671
End page 1683
Total pages 13
Place of publication Ithaca, NY, United States
Publisher Ecological Society of America
Language eng
Formatted abstract
A newly discovered infectious disease of amphibians, chytridiomycosis, caused by the fungal pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, is implicated in population declines and possible extinctions throughout the world. The purpose of our study was to examine the effects of B. dendrobatidis on the mountain yellow-legged frog (Rana muscosa) in the Sierra Nevada of California (USA). We (1) quantified the prevalence and incidence of B. dendrobatidis through repeat surveys of several hundred R. muscosa populations in the southern Sierra Nevada; (2) described the population-level effects of B. dendrobatidis on R. muscosa population abundance; and (3) compared the mortality rates of infected and uninfected R. muscosa individuals from pre- through post-metamorphosis using both laboratory and field experiments. Mouthpart inspections conducted in 144 and 132 R. muscosa populations in 2003 and 2004, respectively, indicated that 19% of R. muscosa populations in both years showed indications of chytridiomycosis. Sixteen percent of populations that were uninfected in 2003 became infected by 2004. Rana muscosa population sizes were reduced by an average of 88% following B. dendrobatidis outbreaks at six sites, but at seven B. dendrobatidis-negative sites, R. muscosa population sizes increased by an average of 45% over the same time period. In the laboratory, all infected R. muscosa developed fatal chytridiomycosis after metamorphosis, while all uninfected individuals remained healthy. In the field experiment in which R. muscosa tadpoles were caged at infected and uninfected sites, 96% of the individuals that metamorphosed at infected sites died vs. 5% at the uninfected sites. These studies indicate that chytridiomycosis causes high mortality in post-metamorphic R. muscosa, that this emerging disease is the proximate cause of numerous observed R. muscosa population declines, and that the disease threatens this species with extirpation at numerous sites in California's Sierra Nevada.
Keyword Amphibian decline
Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis
Emerging infectious disease
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status Non-UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collection: Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation
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